Boxing Future Health:
Enacting Alternative Futures as a Trigger for Change
Boxing Future Health is our largest scenario design project to date. It was co-created with 100+ experts and professionals with backgrounds ranging from technologists to doctors, priests, designers, and scientists
The Results: A Different Kind of Workshop
The result of the co-creation process was four distinct visions of health in the year 2050 in the form of a 2×2 matrix. Four alternative future scenarios – one in each of the quadrants of the two key dimensions: the notion of health and the organization of healthcare in the future.
The scenarios have been transformed into tactile physical installations and audio narratives from future citizens. Physical installations you can walk into, immerse yourself in, and explore.
The scenarios can be used in various ways: Sometimes, the scenario framework is an intrinsic part of longer transformation processes, other times, they are used as the basis for shorter workshops or inspirational talks. Most often, the scenarios of Boxing Future Health are used as key components in a workshop with an organization interested in exploring how the future might impact their current modus operandi.
“Boxing Future Health was a real kick-start to our work with future scenarios for healthcare services. It has been invaluable for us to get such a compact introduction to such a grand theme and in such a pedagogical and engaging way. This has without a doubt made our own process more tangible and solid. It was a great inspiration for us all”
Innovation director, Tryg Insurance
Since 2018, more than 4.500 people from across the healthcare sector, both public and private, ranging from executives to healthcare students, have used Boxing Future Health as a basis for dialogue and a trigger for change.
At Copenhagen University College, a number of initiatives have been implemented that have ensured a broad foothold in the organization:
The scenarios are a permanent part of the Faculty of Health Sciences’ educations and curriculum. Healthcare students are now taught and trained every semester to think long-term and work with more outcomes for the future. It not only ensures that the students and teachers continuously focus on the future and create a common narrative about the future. It also trains their ability to be adaptable and future-oriented when they enter the labor market and must be relevant and valuable for many years to come.
The Challenge: Changing Expectations
In Denmark, our life expectancy is longer than ever. As the population grows older, we increasingly live with multiple chronic conditions that would have been deadly in the recent past. We experience treatments getting better and more specialized and society at large changing at a rapid pace.
Naturally, our expectations of the healthcare system are changing as well — and rightfully so. Despite the progress, however, we see a growing gap between the services and experiences we expect as citizens and patients and what the current system is able — and in some cases willing — to offer.
With this project, we wanted to inspire the sector to change and give the health care sector a set of tools to shape our future in a way that creates a stronger, better, and more meaningful system.
“We have to start thinking much more about integrated solutions created in partnerships between various actors across the continuum of care. Boxing Future Health shows us how design can provide us with the tools to look into the future, explore what society will look like and which needs will emerge within healthcare. It shows us how that can influence what we are doing today in the way we deliver healthcare”
Chief Design Officer, Philips
The Approach: Designing the Four Futures
We are in a sense drawn to technological solutions like insects are drawn to the lone lightbulb in the summer night. But if we want to have a meaningful discussion about the future, we cannot risk being complacent. We must dare to venture into the murkier corners of the future. More importantly, we need a multi-dimensional and empathic perspective on the future if we are to act proactively on it in the present.
Exploring the hazier aspects of the future has been a great concern for us at the DDC. We have found that a combination of methods from two distinct scientific traditions — design and scenario planning — holds great potential for facilitating a constructive dialogue by submerging people in the future. We have applied this hybrid methodology that we tend to call ‘scenario design’ to several areas, with Boxing Future Health as the immersive experiment that had the largest reach with more than 4.500 explorers.
About Boxing Future Health
Boxing Future Health attempts to push discussions beyond mere technology to focus on the human aspects. Each scenario prompts its own answers to the questions; what does it feel like to be human in 2050? How do we treat our bodies? When are we sick? What does healthcare look like? And what do we even think of as ‘health’?
With Boxing Future Health, we offer a range of innovation processes from which businesses and organizations can draw inspiration and challenge themselves to develop new products, business potentials, or strategic opportunities.
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